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Do you dream of becoming a veterinary nurse?
Veterinary nurses are key members of the veterinary team. They work alongside vets to provide care and treatment to a variety of animals.
Small animal veterinary nurses work with a range of small animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits. Our Level 3 Diploma / Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing programme is based on the small animal pathway.
Equine veterinary nurses work in veterinary practices that treat horses. You can train directly as an equine veterinary nurse or choose to become a small animal veterinary nurse and then take a top up equine programme to gain the RVN (Equine) qualification. If you wish to become an equine nurse, you may wish to take a look at The Open College of Equine Studies website.
Being a veterinary nurse can be challenging and can involve long and unsociable hours, however the rewards that come from nursing an ill animal back to health and working as part of a close knit team make the job very worthwhile.
Will I make a good veterinary nurse?
What do veterinary nurses do?
- Preparing animals for surgery and performing minor surgical procedures
- Monitoring anaesthetised animals
- Nursing sick animals and administering medication
- Taking x-rays and carrying out diagnostic tests
- Advising owners on the health and welfare of their pets
- Taking bookings, payments and completing necessary paperwork
- Running nurse clinics, such as diet, worming and grooming consultations
Inevitably, there will always be kennels and cages to clean, and floors to mop. So you need to be prepared for hard and dirty work sometimes!
How to become a veterinary nurse
Diploma level training
The Level 3 Diploma / Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing programme at The College of Animal Welfare is studied on a day release basis, either alongside employment or work placement in a veterinary practice. The veterinary practice where you are either employed, or on placement in, must have been approved to train veterinary nurses by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
If you want to train as a veterinary nurse but perhaps don’t have the qualifications or finances to study at University, or you want to find employment in a practice and therefore earn a living whilst studying at the same time, then this could be the course for you!
Trainee veterinary nurse jobs are sometimes available on our online jobs board.
If you would prefer to study to the highest academic standard and experience University life, then undertaking a degree level training course could be what you are looking for.
You will have the opportunity to undertake work placements in a variety of veterinary practices, including veterinary hospitals that are world renowned.
Having a degree in veterinary nursing will also open up additional opportunities for you in the future, such as post-graduate training in areas such as physiotherapy or perhaps even a career in teaching.
What qualifications do I need to train as a veterinary nurse?
If you do not have the required GCSEs, you may wish to consider the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants course. This qualification, along with English and Maths GCSEs (A*to C) or Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths will be an acceptable alternative.
Other entry requirements relating to work experience, employment status or additional qualifications may be required depending on the course, these details can be found on each individual course page.
What opportunities are there for qualified veterinary nurses?
Veterinary nurse jobs – for newly qualified nurses, the good news is that there is a national shortage of veterinary nurses meaning that your job prospects once qualified are excellent. Salary prospects have also improved significantly in recent years, meaning that veterinary nurses now earn an average of £20,229 per year (SPVS Salaries Survey 2014).
Many veterinary nurses choose to remain in first opinion veterinary practice. Others choose to move into referral practice or into a large veterinary hospital and specialise in a particular area, such as surgical nursing.
Other opportunities include:
- Head veterinary nurse (team leader)
- Practice manager
- Sales representative
- Rehabilitation (i.e. physiotherapy or hydrotherapy)
Registered veterinary nurses must undertake 45 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) over a three year period. That’s an average of 15 hours per year. We run a wide range of CPD courses to consider after you have qualified.
Veterinary nursing courses
- Level 3 Diploma/Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing
- FdSc Veterinary Nursing – Royal Veterinary College
- BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree – Middlesex University (London, Huntingdon and Leeds)
- BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree – Edinburgh Napier University
- BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree Top Up Programme – Edinburgh Napier University
- Continuing Professional Development
- Microchip Implantation Refresher for Veterinary Nurses